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Should I add broth to turkey?

Quick Answer

Adding broth to turkey can enhance flavor and moisture. Broth helps keep turkey meat juicy and tender during roasting or grilling. It’s a simple way to boost the taste of turkey without much effort. How much broth you use depends on the recipe and cooking method. For roasting, you may brush or inject turkey with broth. For grilling, marinating turkey in broth is a good option. Opt for chicken, turkey or vegetable broth rather than beef or pork broth, which can overpower the mild flavor of turkey. Experiment to find your ideal broth amount and cooking technique for maximum turkey moisture and flavor.

What is the purpose of adding broth to turkey?

There are two main reasons to add broth when cooking turkey:

1. Moisture – Turkey can easily dry out during cooking. Broth helps keep the meat juicy and tender. The liquid prevents moisture loss as the turkey cooks.

2. Flavor – Broth infuses turkey with more savory taste. The seasonings and aromatics in broth penetrate into the meat. Broth adds a boost of flavor without needing a complicated marinade or rub.

So broth serves the dual benefit of adding flavor and moisture to turkey meat. It’s especially helpful for lean cuts like breast meat that are prone to drying out. Broth is an easy way to help ensure a juicy, flavorful turkey with minimal effort.

What types of broth work best?

The best broths for turkey include:

– Chicken broth – This has a mild flavor that complements turkey nicely. Opt for low-sodium chicken broth.

– Turkey broth – Made from turkey bones and aromatics, this adds great turkey flavor. Use homemade or store-bought.

– Vegetable broth – For a vegetarian option, vegetable broth works well. The veggies provide subtle flavor.

Broths that pair well but should be used more sparingly include:

– Beef broth – Can add nice umami flavor but may overpower turkey’s delicate taste.

– Pork broth – Also strong; best used in small amounts mixed with chicken or turkey broth.

In general, stick with lighter broths like chicken and turkey so they enhance but don’t mask the flavor of the turkey. For best results, use homemade broth for superior aroma and taste.

How can I add broth when roasting a whole turkey?

There are a couple good techniques for incorporating broth when roasting turkey:

Brushing – Frequently baste the turkey skin with broth during roasting. This adds moisture and allows the broth flavor to penetrate the meat. Mix broth with melted butter or oil for more flavor.

Injecting – Use an injection syringe tool to directly inject broth deep into the turkey meat. Target the breast and other lean areas prone to drying out.

For both methods, plan on about 1/4 to 1/2 cup broth per pound of turkey. Prepare extra broth so you have plenty for brushing/injecting throughout the roasting time. Heat the broth so it penetrates better into cold turkey.

Tips for broth-roasted turkey:

– Choose unsalted chicken or turkey broth so you control the seasoning.

– Inject broth at a few points in the breast, thighs and legs. Let sit 30 minutes before roasting.

– For brushing, use a brush, mop or large spoon to coat turkey frequently while roasting. Reapply hot broth every 30 minutes.

– Add dried herbs, pepper, citrus zest or sautéed aromatics to broth for extra flavor.

– Make an herb broth compound butter to brush over turkey near the end of roasting.

How can I use broth for grilled turkey?

For grilled turkey parts like breast, thigh or drumsticks, a broth-based marinade is ideal. The broth tenderizes the meat and provides great taste.

Try whisking broth with ingredients like:

– Olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar for tangy flavor
– Dijon mustard and dried oregano or basil
– Minced garlic, ginger and soy sauce for Asian flair
– Pureed cilantro, jalapeno and cumin for Mexican-style

Aim for a 3:1 ratio of broth to other liquids/ingredients. For example, whisk together 1 cup broth, 1/4 cup olive oil and seasoning. Submerge turkey pieces in the marinade 4 hours or overnight before grilling. Reserve leftover marinade to brush over turkey as it grills.

Soak wood chips used for flavoring the grill in broth or marinade before grilling. This provides extra aroma. Grill turkey over indirect low heat, monitoring closely, until 165°F internal temperature.

How can I incorporate broth into braised or slow cooked turkey?

For braised dishes like turkey stew or chili, replace some or all of the water with broth. Brown the turkey first, then simmer gently in broth until very tender. The broth infuses the meat with flavor as it slowly cooks. Here are a few turkey braising ideas with broth:

Turkey Chili – Sauté turkey with onions and chili powder. Add canned tomatoes, beans, broth, beer and seasonings. Slow cook 2-3 hours.

Turkey & Dumplings – Brown turkey pieces, remove. Sauté aromatics, add broth and turkey. Simmer until turkey is almost done, then add dumpling batter and finish cooking.

Turkey Tagine – Cook turkey legs and thighs with Moroccan spices, broth, apricots and almonds. Serve over couscous.

Turkey & Lentil Stew – Brown turkey breast or thighs. Add carrots, lentils, broth and thyme. Simmer until lentils are tender.

When braising turkey, use about 1 to 2 cups broth per pound of meat. Top off with more broth as needed during cooking. Enjoy tender, flavor-infused turkey.

What ratio of broth to turkey should I use?

The ideal amount of broth depends on the cooking method. Here are suggested ratios per pound of turkey:

Cooking Method Broth Ratio
Roasting – brushing 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Roasting – injecting 1/4 to 1/2 cup
Grilling – marinade 1/2 to 3/4 cup
Braising/stewing 1 to 2 cups

These amounts deliver great moisture and flavor penetration. For roasting and braising, have extra broth on hand to replenish the turkey and pan juices as cooking. Adjust broth amounts based on your preferences and recipe.

What are some recipe ideas using broth with turkey?

Here are just a few tasty ways to cook turkey in broth:

1. Brushed Herb-Butter Roasted Turkey – Brush turkey liberally while roasting with a compound butter made from melted butter, chicken broth, rosemary, thyme and sage.

2. Apple Cider Brined Smoked Turkey – Submerge turkey overnight in a broth brine of apple cider, turbinado sugar, salt and spices. Rinse and smoke over apple wood chips with some brine reserved for spritzing.

3. Thai Grilled Turkey Legs – Marinate turkey legs in coconut milk, red curry paste, lime juice, fish sauce, garlic and broth. Grill over medium heat.

4. Turkey Chili Verde – Braise turkey thigh meat with tomatillos, green chiles, broth, cilantro and spices until very tender. Shred turkey and serve with toppings.

5. Mediterranean Turkey & Orzo Soup – Simmer turkey meatballs and orzo pasta in a broth with tomatoes, spinach, olive oil, lemon and dill.

6. Turkey Mole Drumsticks – Braise turkey drumsticks in a rich sauce of chicken broth, spices, cocoa powder, tomatoes, raisins and sesame seeds.

So try roasting, braising, grilling or smoking turkey enriched with the flavor and moisture of broth!

What should I know before adding broth to turkey?

Keep these tips in mind for the best results when cooking turkey in broth:

– Choose unsalted broth so you control the seasoning level.

– Look for broth without MSG or artificial ingredients. Homemade is ideal.

– For roasting, bring broth to simmer first so it penetrates the turkey better.

– When braising, keep broth at a gentle simmer to prevent overcooking the turkey.

– Resist overusing beef or pork broths which can overwhelm the mild turkey flavor.

– Do not reuse raw turkey marinade after soaking the meat to avoid bacteria. Only reuse marinade brought to a full boil.

– Brush turkey with broth frequently during roasting for maximum moisture; every 20-30 minutes.

– Let roasted turkey rest at least 15-20 minutes before slicing to allow juices to redistribute.

Properly incorporate broth and turkey comes out incredibly moist and full of flavor. It’s worth the minimal extra effort for delicious results!


Adding broth when cooking turkey is a simple way to guarantee tender, juicy meat with tons of taste. Broth provides moisture to prevent drying out while also infusing savory flavor. Use broth for basting and injecting roasted turkey, making marinades for grilled turkey, or braising turkey stews and chilis. Opt for mild chicken or turkey broth rather than beef and pork. About 1/4 to 1/2 cup broth per pound is ideal for roasting, and 1-2 cups per pound for braising. With the right ratio and technique, broth brings out the best in turkey flavor and texture. Give it a try for your next turkey meal!